March 31, 2015

Shouk Cafe | Paddington

Shakshuka - baked eggs

The Jackson - big breakfast

The Latke - potato stack

Challah French Toast

LONG TIME NO BLOG. It’s been what? More than a year since my last blog entry; it’s been an eventful past year, new job and re-location – hence the non-existent blogging of food (although I’m still active on instagram). Mind you though, I’ve still been constantly breakfasting, I’ve just been busy lazy. Anyhow, for the next few posts I plan to post up, some of them are quite recent and some will be backtracking a bit.

Shouk café is a neat café tucked in a corner in Paddington, with a breakfast theme of Middle-Eastern inspired. It’s quite deceiving appearance wise. Like most housing and stores in the Paddington area, the front of the shop appears quite narrow and short in space, but as you go towards to the back it sprawls out into a nice open space.

The mister and I visited this place twice, first time we went we ordered the Shakshuka (baked eggs) and The Jackson (aka Big Breakfast). The baked eggs were served out on a really hot shallow clay dish, served with toasted challah. Challah looked similar to a brioche bun – but after asking Dr Google, found that it’s bread that doesn’t use any dairy, milk or butter in the making of it, compared to brioche, which does. I suppose it explains the texture, still light and a little on the drier side, and didn’t have the same density and texture as brioche. Not necessarily a bad thing, it was just different. It did however complement the baked eggs well, which was rich with the combination of the tomato sauce, olives and feta. A delicious savoury combination. We opted to add the merguez sausage that was a little extra, but not a regrettable choice at all.

The big breakfast, I think, can speak for itself. It was definitely substantial, a very suitable choice for those who want a hearty breakfast. The standouts in the big breakfast were the latke – which is very much a potato pancake (not quite as deep-fried as a hash-brown), the pickled red onions, and the garlic butter braised kale. The latke was crispy on the outside and delicious potato-y goodness on the inside. I really liked it because it’s not as deep fried and oily as a traditional hash brown, and also didn’t lack in terms of taste at all - sometimes with deep friend goods all you taste is the oil. The other two sides, the pickled onions and garlic butter kale just added that extra something to the meal! If anything it balanced out the meat/carbs flavours part, and prevented the meal from becoming to “heavy” in flavours (given that majority of the meal was carbs and meats).

Our second trip back consisted of the Latke stack and the Challah French Toast. The presentation of both was definitely a treat to the eyes. The Latke stack – potato pancakes stacked with cream, dill, pickled red onions, two poached eggs, and our request of haloumi which they actually layered into the stack! I mean come on, lightly deep fried potato and haloumi? The combination was genius.

The Challah French Toast was beautifully presented and consisted of Challah soaked in a spiced egg mixture and served with candied walnuts, balsamic maserated berries and a vanilla-pistachio semmifreddo (aka a frozen wedge of ice cream – as pictured). I think unfortunately to say, it definitely looked better than it tasted. The actual French toast itself was probably the disappointing part of the dish – the egg mixture didn’t soak all the way through the bread which resulted with the outside being cooked in mixture and majority of the content of the middle of the bread inside remain as… well… fresh bread. So in that it was disappointing. Perhaps it’s to do with the choice of Challah bread as opposed to regular bread? I’m not sure if that’s the intention to have it like that but I guess I’m use to, and prefer, having French toast that is fried on the outside and cooked through in the middle. The ice cream and candied walnuts on the other hand was super. It’s not every day you get a huge wedge of ice cream on your plate for breakfast.  Aside from the actual toast – the combinations of the candied walnut for the extra crunch was delicious along with the tartness of the berries and the savoury sweetness of the pistachio ice cream.

Definitely a place to re-visit, there are still a few items on the menu we are eyeing to try! This place is a must if you're the kind of person who is after a heartier sort of breakfast selections. Also, not to mention, they do get busy, so if you go during busy periods, expect a wait. They do take names and numbers if you wish to come back - if anything they are quite prompt with that!

Shouk Cafe on Urbanspoon

February 21, 2014

Passion Tree | Brisbane CBD

Other than breakfasts, i very much thoroughly enjoy dessert cafes. Passiontree has been established in the city now for a little while and offers a variety of desserts, from frozen yoghurt, to macarons, baked pastries, coffee, fondues and waffles.

The primary reason i really wanted to go here was to try the Honey Bread. Basically a chunk of bread, cubed, toasted then drizzled with honey and cream with berries/almonds on the side. Deliciously sweet and deliciously overwhelming at the same time. It's a bit of an odd mixture of sweet and savoury... well not really since the entire dish is actually quite sweet - it's more so the fact that the toasted bread is the 'base' of the dessert. Definitely satisfying - would probably recommend coffee with this to balance out the sweetness!

Green Tea Bingsoo was the other dessert we ordered at the the same time (probably not the greatest idea considering how heavy and filling the honey bread is), but it was a spur of the moment, again, no regrets. Green tea always has a soft spot in my heart, you just can't really go wrong with it. Anyway, the bingsoo is basically a green tea shaved iced with red bean (again, delicious), green tea ice and cornflakes. Yep. Cornflakes. Sounds and looks a bit strange, but it definitely makes the dessert a whole lot tastier. It's just the addition of the extra 'crunch'! This dessert isn't as sweet as the honey bread, as green tea generally isn't sweet. So a good alternative for the non-sweet-tooths out there.

Alternatively, there is a range of baked goods as well, mostly asian bakery goods, if you haven't tried any before, passiontree is a good place to start - it's displayed in cabinet so you pick and choose then pay at the end of the counter. 

Passion Tree on Urbanspoon

January 15, 2014

The Rogue Rennard | Paddington

Okay everyone. Let's have a minute to drool over and admire how green and delicious the sliced avocado looks. And let's face it, we like to eat food that not only taste delicious, but looks good. (we all know that instagram needs to see it first right? :P ) It's true as they say that you eat with your eyes first ... or something along those lines haha. I actually just made that up.

What's with cafes being sneaky all of a sudden? I only accidentally came across this on instagram, and hence as i made my way to paddington, I probably walked past this a few times before resorting to google maps (sad, i know). But anyhow, this cafe is somewhat semi-tucked from the main road, the actual counter is inside next to a hair salon, and outside is like an open courtyard with tables and chairs for you to sit.

While I have only tried the one item on the menu, the Avocado, Persian fetta, pine nuts and pistachio on sourdough. What i really like about this, is the simple addition of the pistachios, it really adds that extra something to a dish as simple as just avocado on toasted sourdough.  Just having tried this one dish is enough to entice me back to try the rest of the menu. Good work Rogue Rennard on the delicious presentation!

The Rogue Rennard on Urbanspoon

December 3, 2013

Monty's Chocolate | Brisbane CBD

selection of hand made chocolate, liquid salted caramel ball, chocolate covered coffee bean, handful of french candies and single origin dark chocolates, as well as a sample of hot chocolate

This place. Sneakily tucked away off Adelaide Street - if you don't know where it is, i bet that you've probably actually walked past this place already without even realising it. This place honestly is a gem. The chocolate here is on another level. Not your regular Cadbury, Lindt or Nestle chocolate you know? None of that commercialised stuff (Don't get me wrong - i'll still eat and enjoy it on days when i need a sugar hit). But honestly, you're really in for a bit of a treat here!

This place doesn't scream out 'fine chocolates' or 'fancy' - rather you will find a really quaint place instead. Offerings of several different chocolates line the wall - and a menu is found towards the back of the shop. The menu has a few different offerings, but if you're a first time visitor, it's probably a good idea to try the sampling plate. Especially if you're wanting to delve into finer chocolate. The gentleman who works there is very knowledgeable about chocolate - if you start up a conversation about chocolate, be prepared to be educated! So on the tasting plate (for one) there is an array of chocolates which ranges in sweetness. My favourite out of the plate has to be the raspberry white chocolate and the salted caramel ball and the chocolate covered coffee bean (first picture, middle tray). The liquid salted caramel ball is ridiculous - literally bursts in your mouth and is just full of chocolate-y caramel goodness. Have yet to taste any other chocolate sweet that is comparable to this! It is a must try if you do visit!

Also worth a mention is the hot chocolate, all i can say is that it is amazing, so smooth and rich at the same time - this is definitely one for the chocolate lovers out there. The chocolate at Monty's has a more refined taste - that is, you will be able to tell the difference between commercialised chocolate and what's in store here. If you're in the city, like i said, it really is a hidden gem and worth the visit! (especially for those liquid salted caramel balls and chocolate covered coffee beans!)
**also they do have a store over at Paddington as well!

Monty's Chocolates on Urbanspoon

October 11, 2013

The Smoke BBQ | New Farm

As the name of this restaurant suggests - everything here is pretty much off the BBQ grill. Very American, and very delicious. Urbanspoon has a mixture of positive and negative reviews. My experience here was definitely towards the positive side.

The Platter is definitely a good choice if you're stuck between choosing and want to try a little bit of most of the meats, and also a good size if you're planning to share with someone. The platter consists of the Texas Beef Short Rib, Memphis Pork Belly & North Carolina Pulled Pork served with fries & coleslaw. This is the second time i've had the platter with someone, it's a bit of a win or lose with the ribs i find. The first time i had it, the ribs were generous in terms of actual meat on there versus fat and sauce. I mean yes, ribs obviously won't be all mean, but sometimes the ratio can be a bit ridiculous you know? Anyway this time around i found that the ribs were still delicious with the hickory sauce, but lacking a bit in the actual beef department. In terms of the sauce, that's what makes it quite the signature, the smokey flavour that it has. The pork Belly is served grilled and generously dusted with the 'Memphis' seasoning. They got the texture of the pork pretty perfect - very tender and very 'melt in your mouth' kind of texture with the fat from the pork. My favourite from this platter is probably the pulled pork - it's cooked in this vinegar based sauce; really tangy and salty at the same time. The chips were a perfect accompaniment with the pulled pork... the tender and tangy flavours with the salty crunch of chips! There's nothing 'light' when it comes to this platter.

If you're a fan of meat in general, because they don't offer too much variation, then it should be on your places to try list! It has a very casual vibe to it and is perfect for the occasions if you're feeling like a carnivore.

The Smoke BBQ on Urbanspoon
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